Before purchasing farm acreage, the land would have to be surveyed.
If not, the farm could be taken by another title holder in later years.
This happened to Thomas Lincoln in Kentucky. Lawyers and surveyors
in Kentucky, Indiana and probably Illinois were not trusted or liked by sustenance
farmers like Thomas Lincoln.
It is strange that his son, Abraham would end up surveying and law.
Abe was known for his high level honesty. Thus he was nicknamed "HONEST
What's included in a Pioneer 19th Century Log Farm?
Tom Lincoln's cabin was of the "saddlebag" style. It is actually two
separate cabins connected in the middle. It does have a loft area for
bedding. The logs were chinked, and the method of construction was
of the Kentucky style.
Tom Lincoln's barn is called a double crib barn. It has a crib (corn
storage) area on both sides, with an open area in the middle. Each
crib area has hay storage above for oxen. The western crib has a tack
and feed room built in. the middle area, called the threshing floor,
is used for processing wheat. Tom's oxen would be sheltered in
this large barn.
A small partially underground building used for storing root crops and other
food items that need to be kept cool in the summer and from freezing during
the winter months.
Another log structure used for salt curing and smoking meats during the winter
months of January, February, and March after butchering in December.
The salt curing was done to preserve the meat, while the smoking was for
flavor and kept flies and other flying pests off of the meat.
THE WATER WELL
A necessary item for a farm. It would supply needed water when the
creek would go dry. A lot of pioneer farm wells had long poles, called
"the sweep," that helps to raise the heavy buckets of water.
Close to the house, and often in front would be the garden and orchard.
Crops on pioneer log cabin farms raised fruit and vegetables for food.
They usually weren't interested in selling their produce in a market.
There were no markets in their isolated locations. Heirloom gardening
is a method of preserving species of plants which are rare or obsolete today.
In Illinois, Indiana and other Central U.S. states, the common livestock
was hogs, chickens, sheep, oxen and horses.
- Hogs raised by farmers were brought in from other states
such as South Carolina. They had a fenced in pen and a simple lean
to, to reside in during the winter. Scraps from meals and corn were
their main food staple.
- Chickens would run all around the farm, especially around
the cabin and often "inside" the cabin. Roosters were not well-liked
by pioneer children, as they would often chase them.
- Sheep were raised to provide the wool to spin the yarn,
to make the clothing and blankets. Sheep were very important to pioneer
survival. Wool would provide warm blankets and clothing.
- Oxen were very large "cattle" used to pull farm implements
or wagons. They were another necessary animal for the pioneer farmer
DEALING WITH THE WOODS & A WILD ANIMAL ENVIRONMENT
- Horses were used for farm work, as well as traveling to
town and to a neighbor's farm. They were also a necessary animal to
survive in the prairie wilderness
Definition of Sustenance Farming:
1. A means of sustaining life; nourishment.
2. A means of
The sustenance farmer grew and raised his
crops and animals for he and his family to eat and use. They did not
normally sell or barter their crops or animals, but would on-occasion.
Finish in next column to the
CROPS AND DEALING WITH THE
Upon selecting a good farm site, where the land title could be purchased clear
and legal, a good water supply, and trees for logs, the job of clearing for
a field crop was a big one.
Trees would be felled, stumps would be burnt or pulled out. Sometimes
whole trees would be burned out to increase the size of a field.
Fence would be made of the logs after splitting.
Whole wooded areas would disappear with a productive farm.
The business and survival of being
a "sustenance farmer" in the 19th Century was the planting and preparing
of a crop. The following winter could be bad, and the corn and other
crops, vegetables, and potatoes were necessary.
Abraham Lincoln learned to farm from his father.
His life-interests were not in farming a field, but in learning
He learned to use the ax and to hold
the plough. He became inured to all the duties of seed-time and harvest.
On many a day, during every one of those thirteen years, this Kentucky boy
might have been seen with a long "gad" in his hand, driving his father's
team in the field, or from the woods with a heavy draught, or on the rough
path to the mill, the store, or the river landing.
was specially good at felling trees, and acquired a muscular strength in
which he was equaled by few or none of those about him. In the sports of
hunting and fishing, he was less skilled. Upon killing his first animal,
he made a personal promise to never do it again.
7- (92-100 inches) make 1 link
25 links make 1 rod
4 rods make 1 chain
80 chains make 1 mile
[Note--a chain is 100 links, equal to 4
rods or 66 feet]
OTHER MEASUREMENTS OF OLD TIME
Shoemakers formerly used a
subdivision of the inch called a barley-corn; three of which made
Horses are measured directly over the
fore feet, and the standard of measure is four inches, called a
Measurements of Old Continued in column on the right
MEASUREMENTS OF OLD
In Biblical and other old
measurements, the term span is sometimes used, which is a length
of nine inches.
The sacred cubit of the Jews was
24.024 inches in length
The common cubit of the Jews was
21.704 inches in length.
A pace is equal to a yard or 36
A fathom is equal to 6 feet.
A league is three miles, but its
length is variable, for it is strictly speaking a nautical term,
and should be three geographical miles, equal to 3.45 statute
miles, but when used on land, three statute miles are said to be
In cloth measure an aune is equal to
1 1/4 yards, or 45 inches
An Amsterdam ell is equal to 26.284
A brabant ell is equal to 27.116
U.S. Land Measures, as recorded on deeds
1. A township is divided
into 36 sections, each a mile square.
2. A section contains 640
3. A quarter section, half a mile
square contains 160 acres.
4. An eighth section, half a mile
long, north and south, and a quarter of a mile wide contains 80
5. A sixteenth section, a quarter
of a mile square contains 10 acres.
6. The sections are all
numbered 1 to 86, commencing at the north-east corner.
7. The sections are
divided into quarters, which are named by the
8. The quarters are divided in
the same way. The description of a forty acre lot would read:
The south half of the west half of the south-west quarter of
section 1 in township 24, north of range 7 west, or as the case
might be; and sometimes will fall short and sometimes overrun the
number of acres it is supposed to contain.
9. The nautical mile is
795 feet 4-5 feet longer than the common mile.
Planning a Farm Resources
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